T Nation

Why Do You Do What You Do?

This is for all you adults out there - so like, 95% of members. Why do you do what you do? Why do you have your current job? Reading through some training logs, and hearing people give details here and there about their jobs, and I just got curious.

Do you actually enjoy it? Did you stay in the same field for a long time and work your way up to the top? Do you hate it but feel like the money is good enough to stay? Are you just doing it for something to pay the bills, but would/will switch when something better comes along?

Related to that, have you always had a field you’ve been in, or when you switch jobs are they pretty different? This seems to be case for more blue collar type jobs.

As I begin thinking about my future plans and what I’d like to do with myself, I’d like to hear from you guys, just get your stories.

How old are you? Are you just starting out? The world/work market has changed…((( A lot )))
When I graduated college(1978) as a aerospace engineer I held one job for 30 years. Yep I only had one job my entire life. At 55 I had made so much money in the stock market and my company offered a early retirement I said what the hell I’m F-ing sick of working for the man. That was 11 years age and it was the best decision of my life.

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I’m 19. Starting college this fall. Have always had at least one job since I was 12, but obviously those aren’t careers.

I’m sure the 30 years between college and retirement weren’t super fun but it sure made the past decade a good one for you! That’s awesome man.

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What are you studying in college? Can you make any money with that knowledge?

Haven’t quite decided yet. There’s a lot that interests me.

I think I would enjoy teaching, but I do want to do something that pays well (obviously). Being in social work is also interesting, but ditto on low pay.

I’m smart enough to do something in a math or science related field, but have ZERO interest in that kind of stuff.

At the moment, thinking of becoming a chiropractor. My undergrad is going to be 100% covered, due to scholarships, and if I choose the chiropractor route, I know most of, if not all, of that schooling would be covered too. I plan on staying in my hometown, which is somewhat small (about 25-30 thousand residents) and VERY cheap to live in, so I figure if my schooling is free, my job is decent paying (not amazing, but better than some), and I can live cheaply, I’ll be doing all right.

My mom’s cousin is a financial advisor in a larger city, making about $500k a year, and living pretty nicely, and I’ve been talking to him about investing and all that stuff. I really want to get into that, just have no idea how to get started. He’s (understandably) cautious in giving family members much advice rather than pointing them in the right direction since he doesn’t want to be responsible for possibly losing money, but I’m looking for books to read about it.

I got a history degree in college. Wasn’t sure what to do with it. Floundered about a bit.

Went to a technical school in the engineering field afterwards and got a job in said field.

I enjoy it because.

1- I feel that my job matters. The work I do leaves a visible trail and I see what it creates/accomplishes.
2- It turns out I’m really good at it.
3- I happened to join a company that actually rewards good work and effort.
4- My boss is not an asshole.

I currently am a big believer in the idea that the work you do needs to be fulfilling to yourself in some form or fashion. That’s what lets you actually put effort into it. That effort should translate to good work and actual accomplishments, and that in turn should be recognized by your superiors and they should compensate you accordingly.

The hard part is finding a place where you get awarded for your accomplishments. That is hard.

One advice I’d like to give to teens and young adults these days is that you should abandon future goals and open yourself up to possibilities everywhere. Don’t think that you know what you’re doing; because you probably don’t. If someone you trust gives you advice, it’s probably worth listening to and trying out at least once.

Another is that you need to get a feel for what kind of person you are. I think it’s best summarized as- are you a business person or not?

I think it’s pretty easy to answer, actually. Just ask yourself whether you think you can run a small business. Make sure to take the time to actually understand what goes into running a small business. If your answer is no, then you should stay away from any career or jobs that require you to do things similar to running a small business.

Otherwise you’ll likely find yourself bankrupt and sitting on a boatload of debt sometime in the future.

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You really need to separate vocation advocation and hobbies. Every hobby will typically last about 7 years. Have you ever heard of the 7-year itch? Google it. The way to get started in the stock market is to invest 1/2 of your tax return every year. Listen to your cousin if you are not interested in taking any business classes as you work your way thru school. I’m a ME, that is how I make my bread and butter, but I got a masters in business (company paid for) only because I want to know how to investigate a business to see if I wanted to buy their stock. It paid off big time.

I’ve heard of it, yes. I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’m quite getting what you’re saying here:

I’m 27. Grew up working on cars with my dad, from 17 to 24 I was a professional mechanic. Everything from automotive to heavy equipment. I loved being outside, working with my hands, and the feeling of “saving the day” to somebody every single day. I started working for a giant company as a mechanic in the beginning of 2014 and didn’t like they way they operated or the people I worked with. We were union so I bid to the line crew building and maintaining power lines.
I LOVE my job. It’s hard work, very rewarding, and I get a great accomplishment out of knowing what I do matters. I’ve never set foot in a college and I make almost 3 times the median income for my state, and I’m not even that close to being topped out.

The thing I love about having a skilled trade(s) is I will never be without a job. It may not pay as much or be as good as the last one, but I could get fired today (God forbid…) and have a job before the sun set.
I also feel like skilled labor is only going to increase in demand as time goes on. When I was in high school the teachers told us we’d be nothing without a degree in something computer related, I see most of those guys on Facebook working dead end jobs and still looking for careers.

There is nothing wrong with being a desk jockey, but don’t be afraid to do some manual labor!

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Make sure you graduate with a degree that can make you money.
Don’t waste your time on a degree that no one needs.
Sorry, I don’t mean to be cryptic. At 19 it is really hard to know what you will want at 35 or 50
Believe me, your tastes and desires will change.

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Dam @wanna_be you should ask your parents for a copy of your birth certificate. You are thinking way above your reported age.

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I agree with this. Your degree matters because it makes you money. Nowadays there are other ways to give yourself a classical liberal education- just go read. The list of recommended books are ubiquitous.

The reality is that the college degree is meant to be worth something. You need to do research into what your degree is worth to the world.

If it’s not worth much, then you either pursue it because you like the field anyways/have a plan and are willing to put the effort into achieving said plan or you go looking for a degree that is worth more.

Everything you do matters to yourself. You need to own every choice you make.

This doesn’t mean that every choice is of critical importance. I just think it’s important for people to know that they are making a choice and they should own it.

Ha. I’ve always said I was born in the wrong time. I love hard work, makes my dick hard. I did my first 18 day when I was 12 years old. I pride myself in the ability to outwork people. Granted I’m still lazy every chance I get :joy: but when it’s time to get down I get DOWN!

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At 15 I took the amateur radio test to become a ham operator. Electronic test plus morse code. My Dad taught me all of this not school. I got a General Ham Operators license and I could transmit and receive messages from guys like me all over the world. Remember there was no internet we lived in an analog world. Digital was not invented yet. So where in the fuck am I going with this long ass story? I went into electronics so my hobby and profession became the same. Within 7 years I was sick of it and lost all interest in my hobby that I loved so much. Does that help explain where I am coming from or have I confused you further?

No I really get what you’re saying. I was just talking to an old coworker of mine who is a few years older, and had been going to school. He was going for Exercise Science or something similar, wanting to be a trainer, since he’s a pretty big guy and likes to lift. He quickly changed his mind though, and said he doesn’t want to do that for his whole life, he just wants it to be his hobby that he does for the enjoyment.

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Your coworker is a smart man. Keep your hobbies and career separate if you want to keep enjoying them both. Think of your future work toward financial independence as fast as you can.

When I was a teen, I wanted to be either a sportscaster or a DJ at a rock radio station. When it was time for college I majored in Radio/Television Broadcasting. Most of the students in that major were either scholarship athletes (this was before even lamer football player majors) or women looking to get their Mrs.

I did alright, doing some stuff on the campus radio station,sports reports, some live play-by-play, and an overnight DJ shift once a week. Phone calls from listeners could be strange at 3am. Usually faux-suicidal goth chicks or overly smug white guilt syndrome dudes hoping their song request would change the world. Once I got a call-in request from a dude on a snow cat at a ski resort 60 miles away. Radio signals are weird like that. I also got a press pass for the entire college baseball season my junior year, and survived on the complimentary hot dogs they had up in the press box.

To be honest, I sounded like Kermit the Frog, and on camera I really didn’t move my mouth much when I spoke. That and really shifty eyes made my mug too creepy for on-camera duty. But I seemed to have a knack for the technical side of things and organizational skills, so I took a behind-the-scenes career path. I am a video editor (commercials, promos, and some professional and industrial long-form) and have been for 25 of the 30 years in the business.

BA in Exercise Science here. I’m also a CSCS. I can’t do the job I want with my degree and I’m not willing to go back to school yet to change that.

I wanted to be a strength coach. The private sector sucks in the midwest so I didn’t pursue that. I finally figured out that being a high school strength coach would be the perfect job. I could train and mentor kids when they’re at they most impressionable age. A good coach can change a kid’s entire life. An employee of the school is also free to the kids so money would never be an issue.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a high school strength coach. There are PE teachers who have weight lifting classes and teachers who are football coaches. 90+% of them have zero qualifications and have no business being in the weight room.

Meanwhile, I’m over here with the qualifications for an entry level college coaching job, experience in two college sports including a semester at the Olympic Training Center, and I can’t get in the door.

I’m still undecided on whether or not I’ll go back to school for 2.5 years to get a teaching degree, but that’s what it’ll take.

If you think you know someone who has the job that you might want then talk to them to learn how they got there. Figure out reality vs perception. I thought I did everything I could to prepare myself to be a strength coach and it turns out I should’ve been a PE teacher instead.

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I really wanted a job dealing with global trade so I got a liberal arts degree and pursued employment with a company that fit that bill. I know everyone rants and raves about STEM these days, but softskills are super important in areas of business, diplomacy and PR.

No I don’t make as much money as the engineers, not yet at least. But I do to get to work a wide range of people from all over the globe and do quite a bit of public speaking, which I love.

Within two years, I’ll be pursuing a masters in International Relations, an MBA or perhaps an MPA. I’d like to work further in an international theatre.

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I’m re-entering the workforce after a couple of years of being Mr. Mom. A couple of friends of mine own a web based store/wholesale distribution business and needed some help during a big rush season through the winter/spring and asked me to come in to help out. I’ve found some ways to make myself useful, and it’s working out pretty good.

I don’t know what I’m going to do. My main skills through adulthood have been tree cutting and welding/fabrication, but I love what I’m doing now, me and these guys have been friends for like 20 years, and going to work every day is like hanging out with my buddies and doing cool stuff. It just doesn’t quite pay the bills.

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